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An electrifying first novel from “a riveting new voice in American fiction” George Saunders A young woman returns to her childhood home in the American South and uncovers secrets about her father’s life and deathBillie James’s inheritance isn’t much a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta The house once belonged to her father a renowned black poet who die. C mon nowThe Gone Dead takes you by the hand and slow walks you through the uneven roads of the Mississippi Delta At first you feel a distant beckoning and the weight of the humid air bogging down on you as you near the swampy creeks And then comes the rapid motion of that yank on your torso as you find yourself diving right inBillie James has not been back for over thirty years She had left her past life in Mississippi and went on to live with her mother since she was four Like nomads they traveled from city to city trying to get a foothold from beyond the South After her mother died Philadelphia became her home But she s got some settlin to do as she s inherited her African American poet father s ramshackled cabin in Greendale Chanelle Benz creates the first footprints into her story with Billie stretching her aching bones from miles and miles on the road The car door slams after her dog Rufus runs in mad circles around this new land with the joy of escaping roadway confinement It s here that we come to know Billie s wariness in contrast to Rufus wild abandonment Family tales sit lightly in the air with fragments missing and pieces that just don t uite fit Billie was told that her father s death was an accidentan injury to the head when falling one night But Billie has some heavy duty doubts that have constantly plagued her Temporary is now becoming longer term as Billie comes upon a wayward chapter of an upcoming book that her father had been writing before his death She contacts a professor who had been highly interested in her father s writings Together they will sift through unexpected clues that desire to be long buriedChanelle Benz has a masterful touch with her characterizations in The Gone Dead And there s uite a multitude of thembut each is fine tuned and chiseled as intricate parts of an elaborate story frame The dialogue is buttery in one moment and then starkly threatening in the next Benz lets you sidle up alongside each one noting their inner thoughts and personal intricacies Pay attention to their forthcomings and also to their ademant denials They all fit exactly into this sticky web of time and place I m impressed with this debut novel by Benz and look forward to future offerings Hopefully she ll treat us to some of this splendid southern grit

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The Gone Dead

Encounters the locals she hears a strange rumor that she herself went missing on the day her father died As the mystery intensifies she finds out that this forgotten piece of her past could put her in dangerInventive gritty and openhearted The Gone Dead is an astonishing debut novel about race justice and memory that lays bare the long concealed wounds of a family and a countr. I spent one long hot summer in the Mississippi Delta back in the mid Eighties My Boston accent and northern roots made it impossible for me to blend in and the fact that it was less than twenty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King was completely lost on me at the time I was young and idealistic and I couldn t see or understand the ugliness where I lived or where I visited to that point in my life While I met many lovely people and became enad with their Southern hospitality their gorgeous accents the strong sense of family and the beyond delicious food I also saw and heard things that bring me goosebumps to this day A sense of foreboding was my constant companion that summer That sense of foreboding is this book The mystery feels like a jumping off point to get to the root of very serious issues The characterization is believable with outstanding narration by Bahni Turpin that brings each character to life in a way that I m not sure my own brain could have done had I read this Atmospheric and sad this debut is important in so many ways 4 stars

Chanelle Benz à 3 read

D unexpectedly when Billie was four years old Though Billie was there when the accident happened she has no memory of that day and she hasn’t been back to the South sinceThirty years later Billie returns but her father’s home is unnervingly secluded; her only neighbors are the McGees the family whose history has been entangled with hers since the days of slavery As Billie. The Southern mystery with a strong sense of place is not a new genre but it is a mostly white one It s wonderful to see Chanelle Benz join the field with THE GONE DEAD which feels like it belongs with other Mississippi set modern work from writers like Jesmyn Ward and Kiese Laymon Most would probably classify this as a literary crime novel it has a slow pace and no big payoff but once you get past the first few chapters it s uite addictiveBillie James had an unusual childhood taken from place to place by her white mother Her black father was a poet who died when Billie was a toddler after her parents had already split up After her mother s death Billie finds herself the newest owner of her father s old house in Mississippi She decides to take a break from her life in Philadelphia to move in and get to know the place But early on she learns that her father s past there is full of uestions she didn t know existed His death it turns out was under suspicious circumstances no one will talk about And soon Billie hears that she herself was there when it happened and was missing for a time The novel grows as it expands into a multiple point of view story with both insiders and outsiders black and white taking their part in Billie s search for the truth I enjoyed the ability of the book and the always fabulous audiobook reader Bahni Turpin to present a variety of voices that felt very distinct uite rare for a first novel The climax is rushed and it feels as though several threads are left hanging but I loved the sense of place and history Benz brought to the story and I d love to see from her and crime novels like this one


10 thoughts on “The Gone Dead

  1. says:

    The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz is a 2019 Ecco publication Race related crimes from the past continue to painfully haunt those living in the present in this tense and timely southern mystery This is a short novel but it still packs a punch The story is centered around Billie James a young woman who inherited some money and a run down barely habitable home in Mississippi Upon arrival Billie hopes she can learn about her father who h

  2. says:

    A debut novel of history and family in the Mississippi delta Billie her father found dead in what was called an accident when she wa

  3. says:

    C'mon nowThe Gone Dead takes you by the hand and slow walks you through the uneven roads of the Mississippi Delta At first you feel a distant beckoning and the weight of the humid air bogging down on you as you near the s

  4. says:

    In 2002 when Billie inherits the house in which her father Clifton died 30 years before she returns to Mississippi and discovers that his deat

  5. says:

    The Southern mystery with a strong sense of place is not a new genre but it is a mostly white one It's wonderful to see Chanelle Benz join the field with THE GONE DEAD which feels like it belongs with other Mississippi set modern work from writers like Jesmyn Ward and Kiese Laymon Most would probably classify this as a l

  6. says:

    35 starsI thought this started out strong with an intriguing hook When Billie travels to her birthplace in rural Mississippi where she's inher

  7. says:

    I spent one long hot summer in the Mississippi Delta back in the mid Eighties My Boston accent and northern roots made it impossible for me to blend in and the fact that it was less than twenty years after the assassination of Marti

  8. says:

    Read the whole thing in a day because I couldn't put it down This is a literary mystery set in Mississippi about a woman who returns to her father's hometown to find out the truth about his death Officially it was ruled an accident but the reaction of locals including her own family members as she investigates

  9. says:

    Just ok I felt there were too many extraneous characters and the plot was not very original 25⭐️

  10. says:

    The Mississippi Delta was the center of many of the most notable events of America’s Civil Rights struggle of the mid 20th century Thus when I learned that this novel was set in the Mississippi Delta region I was on the lookout for ways that the author brought this history to life Indeed the book's protagonist is a living metaphor of Ame